I'm not sure if I should continue listing responses and questions here...or post in separate threads. For now I will stick with the former.
I did recently visit and check out another forum member's 19' trailer. Wow, was it decked out! The original owner even installed fans to prevent moisture underneath his mattress. Anyway, seeing the trailer in person is where I discovered the problem I had navigating the first step up, as well as needing another grab handle. I tested the dinette seat height as well, and with the assistance of the pedestal table, don't seem to have an issue arising from it at present.
Thanks Karen, for posting the link to that grab bar/handle, and to Harley, Brian, and Pat for their further discussion, links and suggestions regarding stair options. So there are several options open to me, and I'll consider what is practical, as well as what ETI can do. I will start by calling ETI to see if it's possible to install the larger handle considering the new trailer structure.
I do have a portable ramp that I could use if all else fails. But it's rather heavy and cumbersome.
Regarding the mattress I'm like the Princess and the Pea. NWCat, I did consider purchasing a select comfort mattress, as we've used that in the past and found it very comfortable. Ditto for the memory foam. However as you know, both are quite pricey. We have a combo mattress now (air and memory foam), which is a dream to sleep on. Do you all think that a memory foam topper or egg crate topper would help make ETI's mattress more comfortable then? Or should I go with an entirely different camping mattress?
As for the cot, that was my husband's contribution to the build List, and I'm not sure if it's something we will go with. For one, I don't know how much weight it can handle. DH was thinking along the lines of our adult children visiting us and having a place to sleep there. Does anyone know how much weight it can handle? He also thought that could be a good place for extra storage if need be. I know the walls would need to be reinforced for the cot option.
When reinforcing the walls for this or the TV arms etc., does ETI reinforce the entire wall or is it just relegated to particular sections? Each section costs $100?
Yes, the AC and extra insulation can seem like overkill to some people. But, with a very thin muscle mass, I am constantly cold, and very sensitive to temperature change, heat as well. I had read on several other forums, that AC was advisable in South Florida even during the winter! Not only because of the heat, but also condensation and humidity issues. Now, I also read that some people are using a portable AC unit. I just don't know how effective they are. Additionally, the device would take up the limited floor space available. So I don't think there's any way of getting around this cost for us.
Regarding insulation, DH thought that the spray foam underneath would enhance the insulation, as well as offer some protection from kicked up stones etc. Does anybody think this is the case? I looked into doing this after market if we found it was necessary, but it usually costs several hundred dollars more.
Marry and Yardsale mentioned the toilet height and the dining set height. Yes, both are concerns for me. I discovered that the Thetford toilet also comes in a high-profile model, with a couple extra inches of height. I think this could be beneficial. We're still going back-and-forth about the extra expense in raising the entire dinette area. I thought perhaps adding another, thicker cushion on top of the existing one could solve that problem in the future. What do you think?
Thank you all again for your thoughtful responses.
You gave us much more to think about, and I'm confident we can now make more intelligent decisions regarding options and alterations for the build. I'll have more questions, but will post them at a different time.